Somehow I got a message as a very young child that I was selfish.

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My business partner and I had recently launched our new podcast, and he had forwarded me an email he’d received from a viewer. Over the past several years, though, I’ve been stepping out of the shadows, playing bigger, putting myself and my work out in the world more boldly.

I knew it was only a matter of time before critics started lobbing nastygrams my way, and thankfully, I was prepared.

If you want to live a big, bold, creative life, one of the first orders of business is learning how to deal with criticism.

The more you step out into the spotlight, whether literally or figuratively, the more attention and feedback you’re going to get, and not all of it will be positive. Here are five tools that will help you grow a thicker skin.

As a result, I bent over backward for others in an attempt to prove that I selfish.

No wonder an accusation that I was “self-indulgently blathering on” stung me so badly!In elementary school, when the boys tried to taunt me by fiddling with my last name, Dinwiddie, and calling me “Dumb-widdie,” it was annoying, but it didn’t really hurt.Nor did it stick, because I had a core belief that I was smart.I might not like her opinion, but ultimately it has nothing to do with me, or with objective reality.In the same way, if I organize a workshop or offer a painting for sale, and nobody buys, it’s easy to leap to thoughts like “My work sucks.Not only can this help us to find neutrality again, with this outlook, criticism can actually become a valuable tool for self-growth.